publication date: Jan. 23, 2015

Cancer Drug Prices Increased $8,500 Per Year Since 1995

By Matthew Bin Han Ong

The launch prices of anticancer drugs have increased substantially over time—even when adjusted for inflation and survival benefits—according to a study published by the National Bureau of Economic Research.

The paper, titled “Pricing in the Market for Anticancer Drugs,” was authored by David Howard, an associate professor of health policy and management at Emory University; Peter Bach, a pulmonologist and health systems researcher at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center; Ernst Berndt, the Louis E. Seley Professor in applied economics at the MIT Sloan School of Management; and Rena Conti, an assistant professor of health policy and economics at the University of Chicago.

Drug manufacturers have a temporary monopoly over drug pricing, since most drugs are on patent when FDA approves them.

“They have wide leeway, though not unlimited power, to set prices,” the authors wrote.

The study, published this month, evaluated pricing trends for 58 anticancer drugs approved in the U.S. between 1995 and 2013—drugs designed to extend survival for cancer patients, with survival benefits having been estimated in trials or modeling studies.

The authors found that the drugs’ average benefit- and inflation-adjusted launch prices increased by 10 percent annually, an average of $8,500 per year, from 1995 to 2013.

“The market for anticancer drugs is economically significant,” the authors wrote. “Within the market for pharmaceuticals, anticancer drugs rank first in terms of global spending by therapeutic class: $91 billion in 2013, up from $71 billion in 2008. The … Continue reading 41-03 Cancer Drug Prices Increased $8,500 Per Year Since 1995

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